It's not quite a quiver full, but it's a start!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mouths of Fire

I cannot express the sheer priviledge it is to be able to walk through life with such a strong group of women around me. The ways that they contribute to my life are beyond words. Well, technically it's not truly beyond words since with every post I am sharing a bit of wisdom that has been imparted to me at some point, but to be able to explain to the full extent how these women have changed my life and how they push me forward just can't be done. I have recently had the pleasure of meeting a woman who has a true gift for Scripture. She knows the perfect reference for anything you are searching for. I just love her for that. She has challenged me so much to study scripture and to pass it on to my children. She may think it's not a true "gift", but it has truly touched and changed me. This morning once again she used scriptures to change my mindset, to refocus my attention, and to begin my own personal journey of searching the Scriptures when it comes to the tongue.

"Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3

I have shared openly of my struggle with my own tongue. I have challenged others, like I have challenged myself, to gentleness. I strive to remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1). How often do we allow ourselves to give in when our flesh is bowed up with pride, when our face is red with anger, when we feel that we just have to defend ourselves against something? We so easily give in to the harsh words that are seering into our tongue completely forgetting that we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).  

The tongue is like a match. Once lit it has the ability to completely destroy its surroundings (James 3:5), but it also has the ability to bring light. It is up to us what we do with our words because with our words we can bring life or we can bring death (Prov. 18:21). God created the world with His words while Satan used his words to tear it down (Gen 1-4). Whose example are we following?

Every relationship is built with words and the power of our words should never be underestimated. With our words relationships grow and flourish or with our words relationships can end. The greatest of our relationships we have here on Earth is that with our family. We should be guarding this relationship with everything we have to ensure this bond remains strong and united, but so often it is with those we should be guarding the closest that we feel the urge to let our tongue go.

I am the victim of amygdala hijack. As I shared in my gentleness challenge, I feel as if I turn into the beast from "Beauty and the Beast" almost like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. How funny then that science would actually explain these feelings of anger that rise up in me almost without warning? The amygdala is the emotional center of our brain. When we are faced with a "fight or flight" situation (any situation that our brain perceives as a threat), the brain literally bypasses the cortex or the "thinking" center and goes directly to the amygdala. The hormones and adrenaline then coursing through your body make thinking of a solution impossible. Logical thinking and judgement are thrown completely out of the window.

Now that we are all coming to the realization that we all are victims of this dreadful Mr. Hyde take-over, now we can truly examine why God instructed us to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. Wouldn't it stand to reason that the Creator of the human body would understand the way that our brain is wired? Would you believe that all it takes for you to overcome amygdala is for you to literally, be slow to speak and slow to become angry? All it takes to overcome amygdala hijack is to take a deep breath and allow your brain a few seconds to send the information back to the cortex for you to actually rationalize the situation.

I love when science and Scripture align (which they do quite often if you pay attention). So the next time someone pushes our buttons or we are faced with a particularly stressful situation how are we going to choose to handle it? When someone lights a match with their words are we going to use our words to pour gasoline on the fire, or are we going to choose to snuff it out? We can stir up even more anger with our reaction or we can force that anger away.

"And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself" James 3:6. As my wise friend shared this morning, we need to be having fire drills with our family. We need to prepare ourselves and our children for how we are going to react when there is a fire in our house. It is not a matter of "if" these fires are going to come, but of "when". In fact, I foresee a lot of fires raging in my household as my children grow, become opinionated, and their hormones take over. I think we will all be wise to learn, and to teach our children, "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." Proverbs 17:28.

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